History of the conflict in Kenya
Northern Kenya has a long history of ethnic violence and marginalisation. But now, terrorism, resource extraction and devolution are intensifying existing local conflicts and raising new challenges for the region’s traditional forms of peacebuilding.
Control of large budgets and political posts by local elites in the newly created County governments, is fueling clan tensions. These localised conflicts could lead to the emergence of local militias, recruitment and infiltration by Al-Shabaab and harsh counter-terrorism responses from Kenyan security forces.
Northern Kenya is increasingly a target for attacks and recruitment by Somalia-based militant Islamist group, Al-Shabaab. These attacks increase insecurity in the region, worsen the socio-economic situation, further strain relations between local communities and the state, and deflect attention of state security away from local conflicts, which leads to increases in communal and clan violence.
Resource and development
Oil concessions and major development projects such as the Lamu Port Project are aggravating existing conflict in northern Kenya through speculative land grabbing, contested communal and political borders, disputed allocation of oil revenues and in-migration.
Garissa County hosts close to a quarter of a million refugees from Somali and Ethiopia. Their planned repatriation is likely to increase tensions and conflict over the land that will be vacated.
Our work in northern Kenya
We work in Garissa County – an area that borders Somalia and is especially prone to violent conflict. Here, we provide support to Local Peace Committees (LPCs) – community-level peacebuilding groups that have developed over time out of traditional structures.
Through training in peacebuilding skills and conflict management, we’re helping LPC members, including women, young people, elders and religious leaders, to respond to the new and existing forms of conflict in Garissa. Within their communities, LPCs are helping to resolve tensions between farmers and herders over access to resources, between refugees and host communities and between different clans and ethnic groups.
Our work also links LPCs with county and national government, so that together they can address the conflicts within the county, and across county and state borders.